Mary Harrah • Musician • Educator • Linguist

Mary currently holds the position of Faculty Associate of Russian in the School of International Letters and Cultures (SILC) at Arizona State University, as well as Curriculum Coordinator for ASU's Critical Languages Institute (find her profile here). She taught Russian in high school for three years, and served as Instructor of Russian in SILC from March 2023-May 2024. 

Mary first became interested in Russian language and culture while in high school, through a History of Russia and the Soviet Union course.  In college she studied the language, literature, and culture of Russia, studying abroad during her junior year through the American Council of Teachers of Russian (ACTR). She traveled to Russia for the first time only a few months after the 1993 attempted coup against then-president Yeltsin.  She lived in St. Petersburg after graduation from college, from 1995-1998, and was witness to the disintegration of the Soviet way of life and the transformation to what was contemporary Russian society before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
While in Russia, she worked for the St. Petersburg Times , the headhunting firm Korn Ferry Carre Orban, and studied viola with Evgeniy Brodotskiy.  After her return from Russia,  her doctoral research at ASU focused on repressed composers of the early Soviet era, most specifically Nikolai Roslavets.  Her dissertation is titled  The Sonata for Viola and Piano (1926) of Nikolai Andreyevich Roslavets:  A Historical Examination, Analysis and Performer's Guide.

Since completing her degrees, she was a participant in several STARTALK professional development programs for teachers of Russian between 2012 and 2017 through the Glastonbury Public Schools and the University of Iowa. She founded the Scottsdale Unified School District's Russian program in 2012, and taught Russian for SUSD from 2012-2015.  In 2014, she was a Fulbright-Hays scholar in Moscow, Russia, as a participant in a program for teachers of Russian.  Her project for that program focused on the lives of musicians in Moscow at that time. Through the Critical Languages Institute at ASU, she was one of several authors of the first successful grant for ASU's inaugural STARTALK program for novice-level high school learners of Russian (founded 2016).  In 2016, she served the program as the inaugural Instructional Lead, responsible for creating and implementing the curriculum, as well as supervising all instructors.